Featured Researcher: Pallavur (PV) Sivakumar – Bristol Myers Squibb

Pallavur (PV) Sivakumar, PhD

Pallavur (PV) Sivakumar, PhD

Vice President and Head of Discovery, Cancer Immunology and Cell Therapy Thematic Research Center

Seattle, WA


Pallavur (PV) Sivakumar is vice president and head of discovery at the Cancer Immunology and Cell Therapy Thematic Research Center in Seattle. In his role, PV leads discovery efforts for the early immuno-oncology (I-O) and cell therapy pipeline across all modalities (biologics, small molecules and cell therapy). He leads a team whose goals are to find the next innovative therapy for treating patients with various cancers. His team debates new ideas, creates and uses innovative technologies to identify and design new products (antibodies, small molecules or cell therapy) that have the potential to affect resistance to current therapies and works with the larger Bristol Myers Squibb organization to bring these to patients. PV also helps establish and execute the broader I-O and cell therapy strategy, including working to identify and collaborate with key external partners that complement Bristol Myers Squibb’s internal portfolio. 


PV has over 20 years of biotechnology and pharmaceutical experience spanning early to late phases of drug development in oncology, immuno-oncology, virology and diabetic complications. Prior to joining Bristol Myers Squibb by way of Celgene in 2019, PV was part of Celgene’s I-O and cell therapy thematic center in Seattle. He helped establish an I-O strategy for Celgene and led the discovery team to establish an internal I-O portfolio while driving Celgene’s partnering strategy with Jounce, Agios, Dragonfly, Ikena and others. PV also helped drive the cell therapy strategy and led the discovery efforts for cell therapy. Prior to Celgene, he spent six years at Novo Nordisk, including at the headquarters in Copenhagen, where he was responsible for establishing and executing the company’s inflammation portfolio strategy. Previously, PV held roles as a principal scientist in the Seattle biotech industry at Immunex, ZymoGenetics and Novo Nordisk. 


PV was born in India and received an undergraduate degree in pharmacy (BPharm) and biology (MSc) from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. He obtained a PhD in immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas for his work focused on the development of natural killer (NK) cells and the NK cell receptor.

Interests and Expertise

Outside of work, PV supports STEM education efforts among students in the Seattle community. He has been a guest lecturer at Shoreline Community College and was part of the Ballard High School Biotech Program Committee, which prepares students for advanced study and a career in science by promoting the connections between science and literature with an emphasis on scientific discovery.


He is an enthusiastic supporter of local businesses and charities, such as Ballard Food Bank. PV is passionate about ensuring equity in education and supports Washington State Opportunity Scholarship as a Board member, donor and volunteer. He loves to cook and has prepared Indian dinners for various charity auctions for many years. In his free time, PV enjoys rooting for his favorite local sports teams, especially the Seattle Sounders, and has coached his son’s recreational soccer team.